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Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is festival celebrated by Hindus on the occasion of the birth (rebirth) of Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is believed during the ten days of this festival, Lord Ganesha bequeaths his presence in the homes of all the devotees and the pandals where Ganesha statues have been installed. Ganesha is worshipped widely as the God of good fortune, prosperity and wisdom. All Hindus believe that if a new venture or a travel is started with remembrance of Lord Ganesha, it brings good fortune for the venture or travel.

As per Hindu calendar, this festival starts on shukla chaturthi, that is, fourth day of waxing moon period in the month of Bhadrapada. It lasts for ten days and ends on Anant Chaturdashi, that is, fourteenth day of waxing moon period. It is celebrated all over India, but is celebrated in its most elaborate form in Maharashtra.

Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha is believed to be Vighnaharta (Trouble and Obstacle destroyer) for his devotees. Thus, this festival is celebrated as the time when Lord Ganesha takes out all the problems from the lives of people. People bring an idol of Ganesha to their home and this idol symbolizes the real Lord Ganesha. People serve Ganesha in the form of idol for ten days and then this idol is immersed in sea water. It is believed that Lord Ganesha take away all the troubles and obstacles with him to the water and making the life of the devotees problem free.

Reason of Celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi

As per traditional Hindu stories, Lord Ganesha was created by Devi Parvati from her sandalwood paste, that she used for bathing and then she breathed life in it. She set Ganesha to guard her when she went to take bath. In the meanwhile Lord Shiva, the husband of Devi Parvati came in and but since Ganesha didn’t knew him, did not allow him to come in. This enraged Lord Shiva and he asked his follower Ganas to take care of the child and teach him some manners. But, as Lord Ganesha was born out of Parvati's efforts was very powerful and Ganas could not defeat him. This made Lord Shiva very angry and he severed the head of the child. Seeing this, Parvati became very enraged. By seeing Parvati in anger, Lord Shiva promised her that he will bring her son back to life. But as per conditions, the only head of a dead person facing north was of an elephant and this is how Lord Ganesha got an elephant's head and his life.

From that day onwards, this day was celebrated as the birth and rebirth of Lord Ganesha, and as Ganesh Chaturthi.

Tradition on Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with colossal enthusiasm and devotion by people of Maharashtra. The celebrations begin the three weeks prior of the festival. On the first day of the festival, people bring the Lord Ganesha's idols at their home and install them. The place where the idol is installed is beautifully decorated with flowers and lights. A priest is then called to invoke life in the idol by chanting some auspicious verses, mantras and by performing some rituals.

Lord Ganesha's idol is worshipped deeply for ten days and on the eleventh day, the idol is escorted with a dancing and singing fanfare and is finally immersed in the sea or a river. This symbolizes that Lord Ganesha who came to the home of devotees for ten days is back on his journey to his abode, taking along all the problems, troubles and obstacles of the devotees. This ritual is known as Ganesh Visarjan.

Information Essential for Tourist

Being a tourist, if you are planning to visit Maharashtra, this can be a great time. One will not only enjoy the grandeur of the festival with special sweets called "moduks" but this festival also gives an insight to an important chapter of Hindu mythology. This will bring you closer to the Indian traditions and culture.

You can also enjoy various cultural events which are scheduled during this period all over Maharashtra and especially Mumbai.

Way of Worshipping Ganesha in Different States of India

In southern states of India, like Gujarat, Goa, Andhra Pradesh etc. this festival is celebrated with great zeal. However, the rituals differ little bit from state to state but the tradition of bringing Ganesha idol to home and then immersing it in water is similar all over.

However, in northern parts of India, this is not a ten day long festival and is not celebrated the way it is done in Maharashtra and other parts of southern India.

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